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Okamiden Review

A stroke of genius?

The world of Okamiden is a strange one, but extremely familiar if you've played the first game. The scaling-down of the amazing watercolour graphics to fit onto the DS screen has worked for the most and the beauty of the world is intact.

It plays similarly to the Zelda games, in the cycle of world exploration, dungeons and a steady accumulation of powers which you'll need to kill increasingly complicated bosses. When you come across a new area, a large purple cursed zone restricts your access. This can be eliminated by rejuvenating the Guardian Sapling . Taking this magical, bizarre world of fantasy-historical Japan at face value - a world where balancing pigs descend from the heavens - is part of what makes Okamiden such an absorbing experience.

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Zelda Scrolls

Chibiterasu has inherited his mother's Celestial Brush, giving him power over nature. Tapping one of the shoulder buttons drops the gameplay into the touchscreen, allowing you to affect the world by drawing on it. You'll start off with simple enough powers that can be used for exploration and combat.

A horizontal slice removes rocks and performs a damaging slash while a circle rejuvenates trees and can be used against flowering demons. Broken items can be fixed with the Brush, cracks in the wall can be blown open with a Cherry Bomb, and constellations traced to summon your fellow gods, who'll give you new powers to play with.

Chibi isn't as powerful as his mum, so he picks up a number of companions to help him on his way. Kumi is first - the adopted son of Susano, the warrior who helped your mum beat the evil Orochi. As a companion, he's fairly light on power, acting mostly as a guide. It's only when your companion changes that you get a taste of variety - among many others,

the mermaid can control water and the brattish Kagi is hiding a serious electrical kick.

Dogfight

Combat was always a bit of an Achilles' heel with Okami. Angry scrolls roam the land - bump into them and you'll trigger a fight. The wildly dynamic camera angles make Okamiden's combat disorientating, especially when there's more than one enemy. It becomes impossible to avoid attacks from directions you cannot see, and occasionally you'll be fighting blind.

When it comes together, though, it's hugely satisfying. From simple beginnings - attack, jump, dodge - the creatures get more complicated, requiring Celestial Brush techniques and elemental help from your companions to fight them effectively.

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At the beginning, Okamiden seems less like a true sequel and more of a reiteration. The same style, the same Shinshu Field - it's a relief when you make it to Agata Forest and realise the game isn't going to be a blow-for-blow retelling of the first. With the forest submerged by a giant magical catfish, the temple there has been over-run with water.

At times the dialogue slips into a slow mode, with long pauses between lines, and text left for too long on the screen. Adding insult to injury, you can't skip individual lines and instead can only opt to skip the entire conversation.

That's not enough to ruin the game though. Far from it. There's way too much depth and length on offer here to let our impatience ruin a lovely experience that will last 15-20 hours.

This is an edited version of a review that appears in the March issue of Official Nintendo Magazine. For more in-depth analysis, boxouts and screenshots, buy the magazine here.

Comments

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  1. Callum D Thursday 17th Mar 2011 at 16:06

    People, buy this game!

  2. Rabbid_girl Thursday 17th Mar 2011 at 16:20

    Thought it would get more, but I think this is the best way to send off your DS before you move onto the 3DS. I'm gonna finish this before I get the 3DS so I can apreciate it more, instead of moaning about the lack of 3D-ness :mrgreen:

  3. codcam2 Thursday 17th Mar 2011 at 16:26

    I'm gonna pass the last day by going over Okami again. God, how I love that game.

  4. imbusydoctorwho Friday 18th Mar 2011 at 00:01

    Hopefully going to buy this at the weekend.
    The game looks brilliant and has a beautiful story to go with it.
    Buy It People!

  5. KrazyBean Friday 18th Mar 2011 at 19:14

    Okami is bloody awesome!! So I'm gonna try this out when I get my shiny new 3DS! :wink:

  6. keshihead Saturday 19th Mar 2011 at 13:07

    Yes, do what Callum D says! Buy!!!!! :D
    Aww I can't wait for this to come, I've pre-ordered. I owe so much to Okami, if I hadn't ever played it I would never have discovered Japanese culture and I wouldn't be redecorating my room in Japanese style (complete with my chinese style treasure box!) :D :D :D

  7. rogums Saturday 19th Mar 2011 at 23:54

    how can this get below 90%, I've only played it for 3 hours in the section you called re-treat and if it ended now I would give it above 90%. Considering the DS zelda games are shallow, waterd down versions of the console versions (like them or not, I like phantom hour glass, they definatly lack the charm and deph of the home console games), this game gives us almost everything the original did. And for nintendo fans to acuse a game, infact a game very similar game to zelda, of repeting a formula then I am shocked. Okami was the best zelda game I have ever played, Im pretty sure this is going to be the best handheld zelda game I have ever played.

  8. thomi6 Monday 21st Mar 2011 at 18:02

    You should also play the original. It makes paying the Okamiden more fun as there are a lot of jokes linking back.

  9. Shigeru Tuesday 29th Mar 2011 at 08:45

    If this looks as half good as the Wii version, I'll be happy.

  10. Amerterasu16 Sunday 7th Aug 2011 at 16:43

    I REALLY want to get this but I can't find it ANYWHERE! :evil: But still... The original is AWESOME!

  11. GoldenSun Wednesday 28th Dec 2011 at 21:28

    I bought that Game because of ONM, and it was so good, I finished it four times, just to get every single item. It also deserves more then 88%, the ending was beautiful, but it made me cry (My favorite character died :( ), the battles were filled with great variety- 11 pages worth of bosses!- all of which were very difficult to fight at the beginning, but once I completed it the 1st time, I got the providence crystals, which made the fights so much easier. The characters were relatable, and you actually cared for their well being (Yeah, sounds posh, but Kurow at the end made me sob.) and the music and artwork was gorgeous, I spent many a happy hour just listening to the music, and the brush strokes were quite cool and easy to use. This game deserves at least 94% or higher.

  12. spacemen13 Monday 21st May 2012 at 14:37

    I must get this, I had played many RPGs before so I can't wait to embark on adventure again!

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